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Bruce Wood Is Back – SMU Dancers Are In

The acclaimed Fort Worth choreographer makes his Dallas debut this weekend in a project featuring SMU dance students and alumni

“It is my belief that when you strip dance of artifice and ego, what you are left with is the most immediate and elemental form of communication. It’s best to always leave room in a dance for the audience to insert themselves, thereby making the experience personal and emotionally satisfying.” – Bruce Wood

Opening Friday night in the Montgomery Arts Theater at Booker T. Washington High School in the Dallas Arts District is the new Bruce Wood Dance Project. Bruce Wood was the leading contemporary choreographer in North Texas from 1997-2006, when he was forced to close his Bruce Wood Dance Company due to financial reasons. Despite the five-year hiatus, Wood’s passion and determination remained. With new supporters asking him to start again, Wood is back and hoping to revive contemporary dance in DFW.

Wood talks with SMU students Harry Nathan Ferril (center)
and Albert Drake (right) during rehearsal

Wood’s process is heavily inspired by the dancers he chooses to work with, and for his new project, several of the artists in the 15-person ensemble are from SMU. Alumni performing with Wood are Jennifer Mabus (‘94), Shelby Stanley (’10) and Landes Dixon (’11), along with current students Harry Nathan Feril (’12) and Albert Drake (’12). The rehearsal director, Christie Sullivan, is also an alumna; the technical director is SMU faculty member Deborah Barr-Truitt; and current student Amanda Owen (’13) is running sound.

For the project, Wood is presenting three pieces, two of which are world premieres. The first, One Last Lost Chance, is a dance quartet inspired by the music of a young Icelandic composer, Olafur Arnalds. As Wood explained in an interview with KERA’s Jerome Weeks, “his (Arnalds’) landscape as a kid was just this vast empty space of white. And see, I grew up in West Texas, so I kinda related to that because it’s just a vast empty space of brown.” The second new piece is the whimsical and challenging Happy Feet, a comedic dance inspired by the Euro-gypsy tunes of Ginny Mac and the physical clowning of Bill Irwin. Also included will be a revival of a 2001 audience favorite, Wood’s thrilling adaptation of Ravel’s Bolero.

The show runs for two nights only, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 10-11, at the Montgomery Arts Theater, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, 2501 Flora Street, Dallas, TX 75201. Tickets start at $35 and include a $15 student rush. For tickets and information, please visit http://www.brucewoodance.com.

Bruce Wood in the press

from DFW.com:

"Bruce Wood Takes a Bold New Step"

from Art + Seek:

"Projecting Forward: The Bruce Wood Dance Project"

"Bruce Wood Returns to the Local Dance Scene" 

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